Superstore returned for its fourth season on Thursday, picking up several months after Amy and Jonah's super NSFW hookup in the photo lab, broadcast worldwide for all Cloud 9 shoppers and employees to see. As a result of their racy rendezvous, Amy and Jonah were both suspended, and they returned to the big box store just in time for the start of the "Back to School" sale -- and constant ribbing from their co-workers. Jonah even gets a nickname, as a result: "J-Bone." But are Amy and Jonah finally a thing?
At first, it appears their hookup was just that, a one-time thing. Sandra even addresses their relationship status at the top of the episode, asking why they're not together. "I don't know, for starters, the fact that I'm extremely pregnant with my ex-husband's child is not a great time to start a new relationship," Amy deflects. They even endure an awkward all-hands staff meeting about sexual harassment in the break room, where the intricacies of Amy and Jonah's sex tape suddenly become the topic of choice. Turns out, it was allpart of Amy and Jonah's plan to make everyone think they weren't together.
After a successful day fooling their Cloud 9 cohorts, Amy and Jonah have a sweet exchange in the parking lot outside the store and it's during their conversation that it's revealed they're in a secret relationship. Hallelujah! "Quick question: Mexican or Italian?" Jonah adorably asks. "We had Italian last night... Mexican," Amy replies, stopping Jonah as he pulls in for a kiss: "People are going to see us!" "Nobody's around," Jonah says, before they share a goodnight kiss.
Following the events of the season opener, ET spoke with creator Justin Spitzer and star Ben Feldman to break down Amy and Jonah's new secret romance, why it was the only logical move for the pair, how long they'll be able to keep up their ruse and how Amy's impending birth may complicate matters even more.
ET: At the end of the premiere, we find out that Amy and Jonah are in a relationship! Is this the right move for them? Does this feel right?
Justin Spitzer: Yeah. I’ve been slow-playing it as much as I humanly could. Every time we’ve done a move with them, I’ve really thought it and rethought it and asked myself, “Does it absolutely feel like we need to do it now? Could it wait any longer?” There’s always that fear that when you get that will they-won’t they together, you’re going to lose some of that magic. I think we really had to. I don’t think we could wait anymore. I think by keeping it secret, we keep a little bit of a spark alive. We’re still going to see them have fun together and hopefully, the shippers will still be happy moving forward even though they are now together.
Ben Feldman: It’s the only thing you could do with the natural progression of this relationship. I think it would be frustrating to everybody, both viewers and I guess the characters if I’m personifying them and making them real people. It has to happen because we’ve gone now three seasons where there’s been this tension and they’ve got to try out this new dynamic. What’s important to America and I and the writers is making sure that [because] them being together is a major change, their natural day-to-day discourse, their normal dynamic, can’t change. We were both worried like, now are we going to be lovey and boring? No, that would betray who these two people are and they fell for each other that way, in the dynamic that they had. It would be insane to give them something different. That said, they’ve got to keep it a secret from everybody else, so there’s a scandalous element to it.
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How big of a discussion was it to have Amy and Jonah together?
Spitzer: It was big. We weren’t completely sure at the end of last season where they were going to be at the beginning of this season. We knew we’d be getting them together at some point this season and we were trying to decide: Do we want it to feel like there is this new obstacle of the baby and then they will, after she has the baby, eventually be able to get together? We just like they’ve now fully had sex, what would have been stopping them from being together the very next day? By the time the premiere happens, she’s very pregnant and you could understand why that would put a pause. But what was really keeping them apart the day after the finale happened? We just didn’t have a really good answer to that and we decided that was the time. Her being pregnant would be the appearance of an obstacle and hopefully, it would be shocking when [it's revealed] they were together.
They are choosing to keep their romance a secret. How long can they keep up this ruse?
Feldman: That’s the question of the season, isn’t it? That can’t go on forever, and I don’t think anybody’s going to let that go on forever. I think people will probably find out individually, especially some of the more perceptive characters on the show.
Spitzer: It’ll be a number of months, at the very least, of them secretly together. They’re not going to be immediately outed. We joked early on that episode two, it should just come out and be completely inconsequential. It’s interesting that they’re forced to keep this secret. Further on in the season, secrecy aside, as their lives and their interests change, we’re going to see how that affects their relationship and how them being in a relationship affects what their plans are for their lives and their futures.
What kind of situations can we anticipate seeing them in as they try to keep up this charade?
Spitzer: Fairly early on, we have an episode where they’re nervous that people are onto them and asking themselves, “Are we being too nice to each other? Are we arguing less than we used to?” Going overboard to convince people that they hate each other and going a little too far. That’ll be the third episode, “Toxic Workplace.” When the baby comes, it’ll definitely become an issue. When Amy gives birth, what is Jonah’s role as secret boyfriend versus Adam as the biological father who’s no longer in the picture?
Feldman: Yeah, you will definitely see them [do that]. And by the way, might I remind you, she’s also pregnant with someone else’s child. That’s a whole other dynamic as well and how Adam is going to take that or what’s going to be the situation with her and Adam and when the birth happens, which we shot two weeks ago. There’s a whole lot of that there too.
Who is the first to find out about them coupling up?
Spitzer: Garrett finds out very early on.
Let's talk about the... baby in the room, shall we say. What are Amy and Jonah going to do when the baby arrives?
Feldman: Is Jonah a stepdad? We’re just beginning that right now. We’re six episodes in and we have a million more episodes this season to shoot so there’s going to be a lot of different directions that it can go. But yeah, it’s a really weird situation. Without giving too many things away, shooting the scenes were weird. Seeing Ryan [Gaul], who plays Adam, show up was a weird thing because we haven’t seen him for a while on set. It’s weird to be two actors who have a relationship on a show and then have something else on the show change which completely changes the way you regard each other on camera. I’m still playing Jonah and he’s still Adam, and yet, we have a completely different, stranger and more awkward relationship, which has been a really fun thing to play.
Does their coupling up complicate things with Amy's ex-husband, Adam, at all?
Spitzer: It's not that much of an issue.
How is Jonah as a stepdad or a father?
Feldman: I think Jonah would be like the greatest father. He’s super enthusiastic and super positive. I would imagine Jonah’s going to be a better dad than I already have been for the past 11 months in real life. (Laughs.) I can’t imagine what it’s like to jump in and help raise or even be there for someone else’s child, especially that early in a child’s life. It’s intense, but I think he’s up for it. If anybody’s going to take any kind of issue, it’s going to be Amy.
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We get a glimpse into what Amy and Jonah dating looks like at the end of the episode. What are they like as a real couple?
Spitzer: The show almost always take place in the store, so we’re not going home with them and seeing them on a date or seeing them wake up together in the morning. That portion that they allow others to see and sometimes glimpses of them together when others aren’t around at work, so I think just like a real-life couple who works together and gets together, you wouldn’t see that much of a difference at work. It’s not like all of a sudden, they’re unable to keep their hands off each other in the middle of meetings and unable to get work done. It’d be really annoying if they were. Their day-to-day relationship doesn’t change. He still annoys her. She still makes fun of him. It’s all in an understanding, loving way but it really always has been since the beginning of the series. It’s just this added element that they can bicker and then they can go home and be together after hours.
Feldman: They’re probably pretty similar to the way my wife and I kind of have the same dynamic in real life that Amy and Jonah have on the screen. I married someone who is constantly rolling her eyes at everything that I do. (Laughs.) And it's working for us great. They’re the same people, so it’s not like they’re suddenly doting on each other or whatever. That’s really important to America and I, to make sure that they’re the same people -- their relationship changes but they don’t.
What does Kelly think about all this?
Feldman: She’s angry. There was more Kelly in the finale because the finale was an 8,000-page script, a lot had to be edited out and so there was a lot with Kelly that you didn’t get to see at the end of last year which really bummed me out because real-life Kelly was doing such a great job. She should be mad. She should be livid. But she’s the bigger person. She deals with it really well.
Spitzer: Her storyline wraps up on the earlier side of the season. We’ve discussed it a lot and felt like she’s such a sweet character. We didn’t want to play out her hurt feelings and it didn’t seem fun to watch.
Can we talk about the break room scene where a staff meeting about sexual harassment turns into an entire Q&A session about Amy and Jonah's hookup?
Feldman: It’s a dangerous subject to be talking about, which a lot of times makes things funnier. We do that a lot this season. Our Halloween episode crumbles into this hodge-podge of cultural appropriation discussion and racism, which, if done rightfully and carefully and delicately can be super funny. We’re talking about the things that America, that our culture, is talking about on the show. We live in a time where so many things feel dangerous to talk about that you can get a lot of explosive laughter or anger, depending on who it is that’s speaking or writing.
Right now, Amy and Jonah are embarking on a new romance. Is the plan for them to stay together this season or will their relationship be fractured at some point?
Spitzer: We’re still working it through but I think we’re certainly going to see tension at times between their values, and if we go where we’re thinking of going, I can’t say that they’re going to break up or they’re not going to break up. On The Office, we knew that we were never going to break up Jim and Pam. I don’t know if the audience guessed that, but we knew among ourselves. We haven’t decided here, but we’ve definitely decided that no decisions have been made. I don’t think we would ever say, “Break them up because we wanted to create turmoil.” We’re going to do what makes sense for the characters.
Editor's note: The two interviews were done separately and combined as one.